Now, picture a train which is flying like lightning through the hot and sandy desert of Saudi Arabia. This is not just any train in the world but a high-speed train called the Haramain High-Speed Railway. This train is as if the longest, slenderest arrow flies over the desert at speeds of 300 kilometres per hour.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway, which is also called the Western Railway or the Mecca–Medina high-speed railway, is a 453-kilometre (281 mi) high-speed rail line in Saudi Arabia. This rail came into use in 2018. It also links with the international airport of Jeddah and the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina.
The journey begins on one side of the Haramain High-Speed Railway, the Muslim holy city of Mecca. The train then continues its journey to the other end of the rail network- a city essential to Islam, Medina. There are two stations in Jeddah on the way, the first one is at the airport, while the other, Al-Sulimaniyah, is closer to the city centre.
The Train Experience
The speed of the train is not the only quality of it, this one is also a comfortable train. Travellers get meals and television programming in business class cars on in-seat monitors. For the average train meal, a train passenger is likely to be served with hummus, pita, and fruit cup. The stations are lovely even though they are low on services.
Ticketing and Pricing
Ticket reservations are made in advance through the HHR app, and passengers can read train times in English and Arabic2. A one-way economy ticket from Jeddah Al-Suleimanyah to the King Abdullah Economic City will cost you 57.50 Saudi riyals [about $15.30].
Women in the Railways
In 2018, the first class of female drivers started operating on the rail line. This is an important milestone of gender equality in the area.
Saudi Arabia has also planned to have its first high-end train, the Dream of the Desert, in 2025. This train will provide “luxury train cruise” travel from Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, to Qurayyat, which is located near the northern border with Jordan.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway is a wonder of modern engineering and evidence of the efforts of the Saudis to achieve progress and development. It is not only the quickest means of transport but also helps to promote economic development and improve the country’s tourism sector.
The Technology Behind the Train
The Haramain High-Speed Railway is much more than an embodiment of speed; it represents the wonders of modern technological advancements, engineering, and the like. The train is the world’s first electrical high-speed railway in Saudi Arabia and the world’s first high-speed railway in the desert, where Chinese companies are involved in its construction. A speed limit of 300 kilometres per hour is possible with the trains.
The Impact on Pilgrimage
Muslim pilgrims previously travelled to the sacred town of Mecca by foot. They come today by high-speed train. Every day, these sleek, long-nosed javelins make around 50 crossings across the blistering hot deserts of Saudi Arabia, ferrying pilgrims and other passengers. This has helped in reducing the amount of time that is taken by millions of Muslims who go for the Hajj pilgrimage annually.
The high-speed train is much more than just high speed and comfort. It is also a more environmentally friendly option for short-haul travel and gridlocked highways. In different countries, millions, or billions in some cases, have been poured into new infrastructure as customers choose to go for sustainable substitutes.
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How long did it take to build the Haramain High-Speed Railway?
The construction of the Haramain High-Speed Railway Project commences in March 2009. The system was officially opened after nine years of construction on 25 September 2018, and on 11 October 2018, it opened to the public therefore, that took almost nine years to construct the Haramain High Speed Railway.
Train Routes of Haramain High-Speed Railway
The Haramain High-Speed Railway, otherwise known as the Western Railway or Mecca–Medina high-speed railway, is a 453-kilometre-long (281 mi) high-speed rail that connects cities in Saudi Arabia.
- Mecca: The pilgrimage commences in the Islamic holy place, Mecca1.
- Jeddah: The train has two station stops in Jeddah. The first one is at the airport, and the other one, Al-Sulimaniyah, is closer to the city center.
- King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC): This is another milestone in the route.
- Medina: On the other hand, the train reaches the other end of the rail network, which is another city that is crucial to the Muslims, Medina.
This railway is a considerable breakthrough in the way people are transported in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It provides safe, comfortable, and fast means of transport. It is an engineering marvel that has changed how people commute between these two crucial cities.
The Haramain High-Speed Railway is a bright light on how technology can affect travel for the better, making it more affordable and easy for every individual. It is not about covering the distance between point A and point B in the quickest possible time, but rather, the journey itself is important. The high-speed train is a remarkable means of travelling either as a pilgrim or just a tourist who wants to have an adventure in the wonders of Saudi Arabia.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the allowed weight for baggage for a single passenger?
One carry-on bag per passenger not exceeding overall dimensions 65x55x35 cm and weighing no more than 25 kg, and a handbag or laptop bag on top.
Where do I need to book my ticket?
You can make bookings using iOS and Android mobile apps, through the web (www.hhr.sa), calling the Customer Care Center Service (toll-free number: At the counters (of the Issuers, AIV, or at the Stations (ticketing offices or ticket vending machines)).
Do students and special persons get discounts?
In the current context, when the railway is running on promotional periods, there are no discounts available to the students. But there is a discount on special needs individuals, which applies with a valid disabled person identification card.
Which classes on board the trains are available?
A full coach that also provides luxury along with comfort and privacy is available upon reservation. HHR also offers a special service for businessmen, which allows them to reserve a dedicated train.
What services are provided at stations while one is waiting?
HHR is eager to ensure that the necessary services are provided at its stations.